A few years ago, I was sitting in the change room of the lifesaving club I belong to, when an old lifesaver came in after having gone for a walk. Now to me this was strange, as a youngster I had an opinion that walking was not a form of exercise and I think after seeing my expression on my face after he had told what he had been doing, the old lifesaver started telling me the benefits of walking to exercise.
Spot the Elephant in the Room
First of all, we can all walk; therefore, we have no excuse not to exercise unless of course you cannot walk and of course, this was told to me giving it a name to call it a form of exercise.
You have often heard, back to the drawing board. Well as the story goes this old lifesaver had injured himself and was not allowed to run as this had been his form of excise after work, to come down to the club, go for a run, shower and then to go on home.
Now that he was unable to run, he had been given permission from his doctor to at least walk, which he had been doing when he met the judgmental youngster, me.
In his desperate desire to exercise, he started to do the bare minimum of what we did not call exercise in those days’s but to his amazement he started losing more weight than when he was running.
He then went on to tell me that he thought that when he was running it was more of downward pressure on his body and now what he found with walking was that he was moving more side to side thus making his core work more, which led to him losing more round the waist than he was used to running.
Zone 1: Very light, 50 percent to 60 percent of MHR (Maximum Heart Rate)
Zone 2: Light, 60 percent to 70 percent of MHR
Zone 3: Moderate, 70 percent to 80 percent of MHR
Zone 4: Hard, 80 percent to 90 percent of MHR
Zone 5: Very hard, 90 percent to 100 percent of MHR
But the most important one to us is the FAT Burning Zone (Zone 2), after all this is the reason that most of us actually put ourselves through hassle of working up a sweat. My daughter does not like to do exercise as she does not like to perspire.
The fat burning zone you will find at 60% of your maximum heart rate but if you don’t Know how to work it out, use this formula as an average. (220 minus your age, multiply that figure by 60%.)
Example: 50 years of age, 220- 50 = 170 * 60% = 102 heart rate.
Now for the more advanced, find out your max heart rate, find out your resting heart rate. Then take your max subtract your resting and then with this figure multiply it by 60% then add your resting heart rate back. This will then give you an accurate 60% and in theory should change as you become fitter.
Warning: Be careful on finding out your max heart rate as this done by exerting yourself to the limits and recording it with the use of a heart rate monitor. I strongly suggest consult your doctor before attempting this) Resting one is easy, when you wake up in the morning, before you turn to look at your partner slip the heart rate monitor on yourself and record it.
Working in the FAT burning Zone
This is the zone, where we all want to be but cannot get into, strange but true.
Take the heart rate away for a while and use the rule of thumb, when you are in this zone you must be able to talk normally and this is the reason why we cannot seem to get it right.
In simple terms, it just feels to easy and we all are conditioned to think that exercise must be hard and uncomfortable. Not True. The other critical rule in the fat burning zone is that you must be there for at least 40 minutes, this is when the magic happens.
To tell you a story. I have been telling this secret to my wife and friends for years but they don’t seem to get it. My wife and as you know most women complain about not losing weight. One day she came home from an aerobics class and collapsed, asking her what happened, she replied the music was too good. So, the problem with us is that we do not understand how the body works or we ignore it but then we must not complain about not losing the weight and do the exercise because we enjoy it.
Benefits of Walking to Exercise
- It’s very easy to be and stay in the Fat Burning Zone
- Less risk to injury the older we are
- Can be done anywhere
- Cost factor is a big plus, no expensive sports’ equipment, except possible a heart rate monitor to keep us in the zone.
- We have time to think and enjoy our environment
Through the years, I have learnt from my lesson in the change room that walking is a form of exercise that can be done anywhere and should be done by all, whether it be your off day from training, your form of keeping your weight in trim or recovering from an injury like my old lifesaver.
One last piece of advice before I close the topic, since this is a blog about keeping training records in order to make informed decisions on how your training is going and now that walking is a form of training now, I strongly advise you that you keep a log book on your walking, the same as you would do a running log book. This will keep you from neglecting your training.
Get over the mind block and just get Walking.